October 16, 2003 - Food Bank Scores Touchdown at Westword's Menu Affair
What: 3rd Annual Westword Menu Affair
Where: United Club Level at INVESCO Field at Mile High
When: October 16, 2003
Beneficiary: Food Bank of the Rockies
EMCEE: Dom and Jane of Mix 100
Executive Director: Kevin Seggelke - Food Bank of the Rockies
Sponsors: Volkswagen, Mix 100, Rocky Mountain Mutual Mortgage, Inc., Finlandia Vodka, Bud Light, Westword
Food, food and more food. Too bad that "smell-o-vision" hasn't been invented yet.
The tsunami of food seekers hit at 7:05 pm. At 6:50, chefs and servers from 30 different restaurants in the greater Denver area were busily making last minute preparations. This was the calm before the storm.
At 7:05 the elevators disgorged the first of what would be a couple thousand of food seekers. This rush would continue through last call at 11:00 pm.
Sandwiched in between would be enough food to feed a small Army; tvs turned to the Avs, the baseball playoff and the exciting "Steel Chef" competition. This year's Steel Chef competition witnessed an upset akin to if the BoSox would have beaten the Yankees.
Chef John Calloway of the Hilltop Cafe upset 3-time champ and reigning Steel Chef Frank Bonanno of Mizuna. For some, cooking means knowing how to operate the microwave. Watching these masters was truly a treat. They were working with utensils not found in the silverware drawer. Denver Cutlery provided state of the art tools, including a $1,200 knife.
Moments before the competition began the chefs were given a surprise basket that included half a rattlesnake, a Cornish game hen and shrimp. They then had 45 minutes to create a culinary masterpiece. The celebrity judges got to taste the final creation and crowned Chef Calloway the winner. Chef Bonanno had a special prize of his own waiting however. His wife was in the hospital giving birth.
While there was more than enough food to feed the attendees, the real beneficiaries of the event were hungry people in the metro Denver area. 100 percent of the proceeds went to the Food Bank of the Rockies. The Food Bank of the Rockies exists to channel food to participating agencies to meet the needs of the hungry.
Far too often, families at the poverty level must choose between food, rent and medicine. In the service area of FBR, approximately 322,000 people struggle to meet their basic food needs. Volunteers donated more than 56,000 hours in 2002. FBR served more than 5,000 after school snacks each week, and through Children's Hunger Outreach supplied food to nearly 100 member agencies.
Participating restaurants included: Rosa Linda's, Art Institute of Colorado, Fado Irish Pub, Seven 30 South, Wild Ginger, County Line BBQ, Panda Express, Jamba Juice, Abe's Cafe, The Melting Pot, Hilltop Cafe, Pete's Greek Town, Delhi Darbar, Pete's Central One, Tommy's Thai Restaurant, Hooters, Piscos, Blue Moon Saloon, LaMar's Donuts, Thai House, Cold Stone Creamery, Kelli's Kitchen, Yummy Yummy Thai, Panera, Aztec Sol, Agave Underground, India's Restaurant, Wired-Coffee & Art, T-WA Inn and Options Catering.
The restaurant areas were spread over the beautiful United Club level at INVESCO Field. Wandering from booth to booth gave the attendees time to digest as they walked to other booths for yet more treats. Each booth had long lines.
As the event ended people had a smile on their face, not only from a gastronomically pleasing event, but also from knowing that they helped a lot of money to Food Bank.